|What will I see?
The Northern Elephant
Seal breeding season is always an exciting event! To visit Año
Nuevo State Reserve during this season, you must be on a
Guided Walk led by a trained naturalist. Walks begin December
15 and continue through March 31, rain or shine.
To reserve your
Seals come ashore from early December through March to
give birth and mate. Bull seals arrive from early December
through early March to engage in battles for breeding
access to the females. Pregnant females come ashore to pup
from early December to late February. Mothers nurse their
pups for about a month, before mating and departing back
to the sea. Weaned pups remain behind to develop their
swimming and feeding skills during March and April. Most
of the adults have left by mid-March.
Call (650) 879-0227
for information on the reserve and toll free (800) 444-4445
for tickets between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time, 7
days a week. Advance reservations are recommended for these
popular walks. Tickets are only required from December 15 to
April 1; other wise, the reserve is open. You may reserve
tickets up to 8 weeks in advance or as late as 1 day before
arrival. There are no refunds for cancellations, no shows, or
The 2.5-hour walk is 3
miles, round-trip, over sandy, unlevel terrain. The trail is
muddy during wet weather. Be prepared for possible wind, rain,
or bright sun. Wear layered clothing and sturdy clothes.
Hooded rain gear is strongly advised. Cameras and binoculars
No food or beverages
are sold at the reserve, and there is no water along the
trail. Eating, chewing gum, and smoking are prohibited on the
at the reserve
Año Nuevo State
Reserve is located on State Hwy 1, between Santa Cruz and Half
Moon Bay, about 2 hours south of San Francisco. Reserve signs
are located on the highway from both directions. Pets cannot
be brought into the reserve or parking lot.